The mayor of Las Vegas is all in on reopening during the coronavirus pandemic.
In a contentious CNN interview Wednesday, Mayor Carolyn Goodman said she wants to get Sin City back to work — and that she offered it as a “control group” in lifting lockdown restrictions for the country.
“I want us open in the city of Las Vegas so our people can go back to work and that’s it because we’re putting children and families back out on the street,” Goodman told host Anderson Cooper.
Goodman said it’s imperative to open up casinos and bring conventions back to the Vegas Strip to help the “close to 900,000” unemployed Nevadans make a living and provide for their families.
She said the almost 150 who’ve died in Vegas from the virus is a “tragic loss,” but compared with the state’s more than 2-million residents “you have to say, we have to open up.”
A combative Cooper argued that that toll was so low because of social distancing.
“How do you know until we have a control group?” she shot back. “We offered to be a control group … it was turned down.”
A city statistician said it couldn’t be done because “people from all parts of southern Nevada come in to work in the city,” she said.
“I said, ‘Oh that’s too bad,’ because I know when you have a disease you have a placebo that gets the water and the sugar and then you get those that actually get the shot. We would love to be that placebo,” Goodman added.
Cooper noted that the casinos are full of smoking, drinking and an abundance of shared surfaces used by visitors from all over the country.
“Doesn’t that sound like a virus Petri dish?” he asked.
“It sounds like you’re being an alarmist,” Goodman responded. “I’m not. I’ve lived a long life. I grew up in the heart of Manhattan. I know what it’s like to be with subways and on buses and crammed into elevators.”
Goodman said she “of course” believed there should be social distancing should the casinos reopen, although that would be for the businesses to figure out.
“That’s up to [the casinos] to figure out,” she said. “I don’t own a casino. I don’t know anything about building a casino.”
In a separate interview on MSNBC Tuesday, Goodman explained her vision would allow for casinos to reopen, with closures of any that prove to be virus hotspots.
“Assume everybody is a carrier,” the mayor said. “And then you start from an even slate. And tell the people what to do. And let the businesses open and competition will destroy that business if, in fact, they become evident that they have disease, they’re closed down. It’s that simple.”